Mauna Kea, Hawaii – Dormant Volcano


Mauna Kea is the highest point in Hawaii (4,207 metres / 13,803 feet above sea level) and is located more or less right in the middle of The Big Island. This is a barren almost desert like area on the island. It is windswept, dusty and hot.Why? Well Mauna Kea is a long dormant volcano (it last erupted over 4.500 years ago).

Mauna Kea Recreation Area Hawaii Big Island
Mauna Kea Recreation Area

The landscape of volcanic rock is dotted with calderas. The evidence of Mauna Kea’s past active state is all around.

Caldera Mauna Kea Hawaii Volcano
Calderas Abound

Way up on the peak is an astronomical observatory. It is said to be one of the best places on earth to view the start and planets but if you have a rental car forget about going up there.

Mauna Kea Volcano Hawaii
Enter at your own risk!

Rental car companies don’t let you take their vehicles up the steep winding saddle road (insurance wont cover it). Alas that was my problem on the day I visited there. Despite this the views from hikes around Mauna Kea were spectacular.

volcanic landscape Mauna Kea Hawaii Big Island
Volcanic landscape
Mauna Kea State Recreation Area Big Island Hawaii
The colours of this area remind me of outback Australia

Amazingly Mauna Kea is much like an iceberg in a way. Apparently when you measure its height from the base of the ocean floor it is 10,100 metres / 33,100 feet high! What you can see above ground is quite the sight!

Volcanic rock and calderas dot the landscape of Mauna Kea
Volcanic rock and calderas dot the landscape of Mauna Kea
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